Covid Hits Hospitality Sales for £89 billion 

Covid Hits Hospitality Sales for £89 billion 

Covid Hits Hospitality for £89 billion 

As the grim anniversary of the beginning of the first lockdown approaches, analysis from S4labour shows that the hospitality industry lost just over £89 billion in revenue through the full year since March 23rd 2020, when the hospitality industry was first instructed to close. This is equivalent to 68.9% of annual revenue, representing an average decline of half a £million per site across the U.K. 

The data shows that while there were huge declines for both wet and dry led sites, it was drink led sites that were particularly hard hit, slipping 78.6% in like-for-like revenue compared to food-led venues where the decline was limited to 62.1%.

There was a less marked difference between London and non-London sites, however, it was noticeable that wet-led venues in the capital suffered an 84.4% decline in sales, with little opportunity to offer takeaway or delivery during almost all variation of restrictions.

Scotland fared worse than England, with a 77% loss in revenue, and wet-led pubs in Scotland were the most affected category with an 88% decline like-for-like revenue.

Chief Customer Officer Sam Wignell added, during the last year, hospitality has had its ups but the downs have been significant and scarring for most operators. The figures are starkly clear, we cannot expect the industry to simply emerge on the other side of that loss still afloat and recover, even with pent-up demand.

Important changes to NLW and NMW

Important changes to NLW and NMW

Important changes to NLW and NMW

National living wage increases have become a metronomic feature of the financial year, and while this year’s increase is nothing untypical, both Furlough arrangements and the changes in age brackets mean that the rate increase is more complex than usual. There are three main highlights to familiarise yourself with before this April’s NLW and NMW changes; the increase amount, the age bracket the increase relates to and the Furlough scheme.

Firstly, the rate change itself. On the 1st of April 2021, NLW is due to increase from £8.72 per hour by 2.2%, to £8.91. In addition, NMW is set to increase by 2% for workers ages 21-22 to £8.36, 1.7% for workers aged 18-20 to £6.56, and 1.5% for workers aged 16-17 to £4.62.


Importantly however, the NLW age bracket for workers will drop from 25 years old to 23 years. This is particularly impactful for an industry like hospitality where there is a high proportion of younger employees. In fact, by dropping the age from 25 to 23 it will impact the pay of roughly 10% of hospitality employees.

Whilst the increase will be welcomed by employees across the UK, they may be disappointed to learn that this will have no impact on the amount they receive whilst on Furlough. Government guidance has stated that while Furlough will continue into the summer, employees on Furlough are not subject to the increase and their furlough pay will remain based on reference periods before to the increase. However, employers will have to pay NLW / NMW for holiday pay or while an employee is on training.

This will give some businesses a conundrum on how to maximise the benefit of the Furlough and Flexible Furlough schemes when considering who to bring back to work and who to keep on the scheme. By leaving employees over the age of 25 on the scheme while bringing back younger employees, some of the increase will be held for the short term, before reaching the point of relinquishing Furlough. It is important to acknowledge that any factors concerning employees should not contravene age discrimination legislation.

Re-Opening Resources

Re-Opening Resources

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Training in 2021

What does training look like in 2021? Training Manager, Lisa Dunks looks at the changing world of L&D and how S4labour are continuing to adapt.

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Training in 2021

Training in 2021

Training in 2021

It’s been a strange year for everyone, particularly a lot of us in hospitality and every area of our businesses have been turned upside down by Covid. As we start to see some light at the end of the tunnel I thought it would be useful to share some thoughts on how training is changing and what we are doing in S4labour to adapt. 


With pure classroom training interventions becoming a thing of the past prior to the pandemic, more organisations were using a blended learning approach, not only because of the cost saving but also the time saved on traveling. The beauty of online learning is that it can be applied straight away, putting it into action as soon as you wave goodbye and find the exit button to the online room. We have always offered online launches at S4labour but it’s been almost a year since I stood at the front of a group of people and delivered our launch workshops or refresher sessions. Since the pandemic however, our online workshops for bigger teams have been a great success and our users have responded really well to implementing their systems into their business. Emily Grenville, Head of H.R. at Tossed said “it’s the most support we have been given by a supplier”.Jacques from the Big Smoke & Morgan Groups is also impressed, commenting “[our] launch was a great success and given the choice of face to face and remote I would choose remote again” 


The Rise Of Capabilities Over Skills

Back when I was in operations we always hired for attitude and trained for skill, it didn’t matter to me if they hadn’t done the job before, what mattered  was that they wanted to learn, wanted to push themselves and had the right attitude. I knew I could teach our service cycle, our menu, our cocktails and systems to anyone that wanted to learn. One of the shifts in focus L&D teams have had over the last couple of years is towards    capabilities rather than skills, with short sharp training interventions,providing learners with the ability to search for content and learn something in real time. This style of learning ensures individuals can learn in the flow of work tying in learning directly with the workers abilities to perform their jobs and to produce business outcomes. At S4labour we have strengthened our resource library so users can access content on any device when they are faced with a knowledge gap at any time. We have also made our training bitesize and loads to choose from: 15-minute online modules, 30 minute webinars and 1 hour one-to-one remote training and group workshops. We also engage with our customers to find their pain points and ensure we discuss the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’ to use our software, taking our training further and deeper into the habits and behaviors that are needed by users to get success.


Learning in the flow of work 

One of the biggest frustrations learners tend to have in the workplace is the amount of time that is wasted, employees just want to get the work done and do it right. Just-in-time learning enables employees to improve efficiencies and gain new capabilities with hands on, just-in-time and just-for-me learning. Following our launches, each General Manager gets the ability to spend two one-to-one sessions with a system expert ensuring just that – it’s at the time they need it, it’s just for them and improves efficiencies and reduces the frustration that comes along with change. You’ve heard about HIIT workouts but what about relating that to workplace training, high intensity interval training, short sharp impactful interventions.  


Project based learning 

Posing a problem, or changing and allowing a team or individual to research and collaborate through  researching and discussion leads to a lot of learning. This reinforces capabilities and allows individuals to gain new skills. Motivation at work can be low at this time of year but add business closures into the mix along with furlough and teams could be left feeling very demotivated and uninspired. As a manager, having a few projects in mind to dish out is great for your team’s wellbeing too,allowing them to focus and get re-engaged. A phrase one of my Portuguse friends shared with me translates to “when we are not in war, we polish our guns”. This is what we have been doing at S4labour over the last few months, to ensure we give our customers and users the best onboarding experience possible when the industry opens up again. Suggested project topics could be related to service style, maintaining ‘hospitality’ in the masked environment, fun team bonding online sessions, inclusion and diversity or something as simple as create your own cocktail ideas. A lot of our customers are also taking this time to retrain/refresh their teams on S4labour and our free webinars were a great success to support this after the first lockdown. 


Emphasis on Communication and Collaboration Skills

More and more teams are now meeting in virtual and digital environments. Even after the pandemic this will remain the case. Something we have implemented in S4labour for our teams is a ‘Friday Huddle’ where we catch up socially, chat about our week over a cuppa and take it in turns to organise a quiz. We also share regular feedback and thank colleagues with praise and pass it on email. I recently took to the kitchen and posted out brownies to our team. We have been more deliberate with our communication because we are all working remotely. We are actually stronger as a team for it, something I’m sure will continue. department managers have been utilizing our Shift Success feature to share updates with us and the shift review function has been even more important to measure our teams happiness and wellbeing.


We have seen some amazing things our customers have been doing and are inspired by how passionate the sector is at supporting and training their people for success. It is such a win win, for the employee and the business. If you want to have a chat about training in your business, or think your teams would be more impactful with a bit of a refresher, then get in touch.